About Good Cheer Food Bank
Good Cheer Food Bank serves an average of 850 families a month (more in the winter months) in an environment which provides clients with healthy food choices (including fresh, locally grown produce) in a grocery-like setting which preserves client dignity. We are proud to be a model Food Bank for our region.
Good Cheer uses an innovative food points shopping system. A one-person household receives 70 points, and for every additional persons 10 extra points are allotted. A four-person family would receive 100 points per month to spend on supplemental groceries.
Many clients are pleased about being able to shop more often and receive more food, especially food of their selection. Several fresh fruit and vegetable bins have been installed, and the donated display freezer and refrigerator cases contain everything from frozen chickens to frozen orange juice.
Food Bank Q & A
Q: When is the Food Bank open?
A: The Food Bank at Bayview is open five days a week: Mondays 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Tuesdays noon to 7 p.m.; and Wednesdays, Thursday, and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Reserved Food Bank parking is located directly to the side of the food bank in marked spaces. Handicapped parking is available directly in front of the Food Bank in marked handicapped spaces.
Q: Who uses the Food Bank?
A: People in a wide variety of life situations access the Food Bank. Some are seniors on fixed incomes… some are single parents having trouble making ends meet… some have lost employment and need short-term help while they search for work… some are homeless teens… some are on permanent disability. We serve people living within our service area of South Whidbey up to parts of Greenbank.
Q: How does a person access the Food Bank?
A: Just show up. When a new client comes into Good Cheer Food Bank, they are greeted at the check-in desk and asked for their address and a piece of mail that shows that address as their home. If they do not have a permanent address, they are noted as homeless. The only other information needed is how many people are living in the household and their ages. Good Cheer does not ask for proof of income because Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest who provide thousands of pounds of free food to us do not allow that to be a part of our determination process. We also would not have access to such private information without spending money on the verification process. That would be money not going to food.
Once all the information is entered in our database, the client is given a certain amount of points to use in the Food Bank. Clients are given a base of 70 points, plus ten extra points for every member of the household up to 50 points for a total maximum of 120 points to use per month. For instance, a family of four would receive 100 points a month to spend on selection of food in the Food Bank.
The food in the Food Bank is assigned a particular amount of points which is determined by nutrition and cost. There are also limits placed on some foods such as chickens, eggs, peanut butter and other commodities so we can be sure to have enough for everyone who comes to the Food Bank. The better the nutritional value, the lower the points on many items which is our way to encourage healthier eating. For example, the fresh organic produce out of our garden will take fewer points to get than a can of processed chili. The hope is to provide enough nutrition for a person to be able to eat all month long.
Q: Where does the food come from?
A: Some of it comes in as a result of food drives through churches, schools, civic organizations, clubs and private businesses.
Contributions, along with proceeds from Good Cheer’s two thrift stores and clothing boutique (which provide about 67 percent of the Food Bank’s budget) are used to buy food through several purchasing programs open to area Food Banks. Every dollar Good Cheer spends in buying food from a regional food bank network, has the equivalent buying power of $9.
And we are proud to say that more than 5,000 pounds of fresh, pesticide-free produce is grown right on the grounds of our Food Bank in the Good Cheer Garden. In addition, we have agreements with a local organic farm to supply winter vegetables to the Food Bank through our Fresh Food To the Table program, funded by community donors.
Q: How often can a person receive food?
A: With the new points system, the choice is up to you. You may visit as often as you wish as long as you stay within the allotted points for the month. Good Cheer is designed to supplement and stretch a person’s food supply. However, if your need is urgent, come and talk with us, and we’ll work something out. We don’t turn anyone away hungry.
Q: How can a person help support Good Cheer?
A: We welcome and need volunteers, food donations, monetary donations, and items donated to Good Cheer’s Thrift Stores. We also appreciate patronage of the thrift stores. In addition, the Food Bank welcomes donations of surplus fresh garden produce, fruit, and accepts clean, cartoned and dated eggs.